Since the Republican victory on Tuesday, I have listened to the bloviating by moderates in Party leadership and others in talk radio who say that this election was a clear victory for the establishment and against the Tea Party and conservatives. As evidence of their misguided supposition they point to the fact that none of the Tea Party candidates won in Republican primaries, so therefore only establishment Republicans were running in the mid-terms.
I will now destroy this foolishness with two felled swoops. First, the Republican national Party did not have a message or platform for this election, and that was their stated strategy. They said they were going to stand back and let the Democrats implode. So there is no way, according to their own strategy, that voters could have been supporting the establishment position as they went to the polls on Tuesday.
Secondly, every Senate seat that was a pickup for Republicans was done so by a candidate who unapologetically articulated conservative principles, i.e. Tea Party principles. They ran on one or all of the so-called "social" issues that send the moderates running for the Maalox due to the butterflies they get in their stomachs every time they even get close to talking about such things. From support for traditional marriage to opposition to amnesty, these candidates took up the gauntlet of the people with the vim and vigor of a Ted Cruz not the tired, worn lackluster droll of a Mitch McConnell.
The winners who brought the Republican party the majority in the Senate did so, not by out-Democrating the Democrats as the modertes would have us do, but by standing up and articulating conservatism. And Republicans in the future would be wise to learn the lesson of this election, which is that the moderate establishment message, when there is one, does not resonate with voters, but well articulated conservatism does.
I have even heard some pundits on the Right say this election was a bigger victory than the 2010 mid-term, which gave the Republicans control of the House. This tact has been the approved messaging of the Party establishment in order to downplay the Tea Party's success in 2010 and gin up this falsehood that it was moderate values that won this election. But in pure numbers that argument does not even hold a thimble's worth of water. In 2010 the Republicans, thanks to the Tea Party, gained 63 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate. In 2014 they gained 19 seats in the House and 7 in the Senate. Had it not been for 2010, the Republican majority in either House of Congress would not exist today.
The Republican victory in this passed election is a harbinger of the future of the Party being in principled conservatives like Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, Mike Lee, Mia Love, et al, not in spongy, go-along-to-get-along politicians like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, etc. And the old guard establishment would be wise to get on board or get out of the way.